The Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, has called on Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan to support the construction of a church in Tarsus and to allow the current church there that was turned into a museum to be used again for religious purposes.
In the letter sent to President Erdogan in February and published in the latest edition of the Archdiocese of Cologne’s newspaper, Cardinal Meisner reminded the Turkish leader that on June 28 the two thousandth anniversary of St. Paul’s birth will be celebrated and that therefore people from around the world will go on pilgrimage to Tarsus.
The German cardinal said he plans to visit Tarsus this year and that he believes the construction of a church in St. Paul’s hometown would be of significance to Cologne, as it would improve relations with the large Turkish community that lives in that city. He also said working together in the construction of the church would be a sign of unity.
Last month during a visit to Cologne, President Erdogan expressed his supports for plans to build the church in Tarsus, and during a press conference he said, “As soon as the Church makes this request of me, I will make a statement in support, even if it goes against the opposition.”